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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Florence Arizona

Florence AZ Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Florence AZ. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Even though it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you select the right school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Florence AZ Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Florence AZ hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs might also practice in Florence AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Florence AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Florence AZ student attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Florence AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Florence AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Florence AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Florence AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Florence AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Florence AZ.